This week, I was fortunately to be able to participate in the SpeakOut Summer Institute—a virtual institute on building equity and social justice education to create inclusive learning environments on campus and online. It was a whole week of intellectual and emotional conversations, among which I would like to summarize below some of my takeaways and reflections.
- Racism is not caused by certain people who have racist views. Instead, alongside sexism, heterosexism, ageism, classism, ableism, racism caused by a system of oppression that has been formed in the society. In order to make a real change that foster equity, we need to be anti-racist and build allyhood—a process that helps us stand with, but not only stand for, marginalized groups. This is something I am committed to doing as a social justice educator.
- Being White brings one “privilege,” or Dr. Nolan Cabrera would call “immunity.” Regardless of whether an individual recognizes it or not, the skin color provides them with preferential treatment, or an absence of discrimination, compared to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). Before we can advocate for others, we have to look within ourselves to see the unearned privilege/immunity and acknowledge it. Then, we have to take action toward social justice and measure it; if we do not measure it, there is no action.
- Educators have an important role, given that everyone learns about the “system” starting in school, to implement teaching practices that promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice. These practices range from creating inclusive syllabi and assignments to engaging students in discussions of these issues: https://acue.org/inclusive-teaching-practices-toolkit/
I hope we all take action one step at a time to us closer to social justice and equity…